Estonia is the richest and most prosperous of the Baltic states. The country has also had constant high economic growth since the mid-1990s, with the exception of the crisis years at the end of the 1990s. The capital Tallinn and its surrounding area has experienced a faster development than the rest of the country, especially the northeastern parts. In 2012, the average salary in Estonia was approximately 800 euros, while the minimum wage was 290 euros.
In the interwar period, independent Estonia adopted advanced social laws after those conditions. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of EST and acronym for Estonia. As early as the mid-1930s, workers with at least three years of employment were legally entitled to three weeks’ paid vacation. All sickness fund members and their families were given the right to free medical and dental care as well as free glasses.
Due to large losses of human lives in war, occupations, deportations and other terror, the Estonians are still fewer today than before the Second World War. Estonians (and Latvians) have also had the lowest known birth rates in the world, which is linked to low marriage rates, high marriages, tradition with small families, free abortions, congestion, mass alcoholism and other socioeconomic conditions. The lack of contraceptives contributed to a large number of abortions during the Soviet era: about three abortions on each birth. The proportion of abortions has decreased during the new independence period; at the end of the 1990s, it was one and a half abortions per birth, and in 2010 it was about 0.5 abortions per birth, of which 80 percent were performed legally. A new system for parental allowance was introduced in 2004, giving parents the right to be home for a total of 575 calendar days with compensation. Of these, 140 are reserved for the mother, and the remaining days can be shared between the parents. Parents without employment are entitled to parental allowance for 180 days, corresponding to the country’s minimum wage.
The general holiday is four weeks. The old-age pension consists of a work pension and a national pension which is paid to those who are not entitled to a work pension. The retirement age is 63 years for men and 61.5 years for women. It has been decided to raise the retirement age of women to 63 years.
Estonia’s health care is largely tax-financed, with a small but growing element of deductibles. Estonian health care has been greatly reformed over the past two decades in order to achieve higher quality and increased efficiency. In general, the reforms have been successful, although several problems such as long waiting times and a shortage of qualified staff remain. Healthcare is also being pressured by Estonia still having a high proportion of smokers and widespread alcoholism and the proportion of overweight people growing. In 2010, there were approximately 33 doctors and 54 hospital beds per 10,000 residents. In 2009, the healthcare sector accounted for 7 percent of the country’s GDP.
Since 1960, all newborn babies have been vaccinated against TB, but in the 1990s the number of TB cases doubled. During the 1990s, the trend reversed and in 2010, the incidence of TB was estimated to be 25 cases per 100,000 residents. General vaccination against polio has meant that this disease no longer exists. Estonia has an internationally high suicide rate.
About 55 percent of all working-age women work, compared with just under 70 percent of men. Women with young children are significantly less active than men. Estonia also has a large pay gap between women and men. Of the members of Estonia’s parliament, 19.8% were women in 2011.